November 25, 2002

Combining Experience With Youth

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Only one word can describe the Red’s goalie situation: depth. Senior goaltender Liz Connelly returns after posting an outstanding 2.27 GAA and a .918 save percentage last year. Big 5-9 senior Sanya Sandahl will be right behind her fighting for time as well. Sandahl had good numbers herself last season, accumulating a 2.84 GAA with a .906 save percentage.

“Liz and Sanya will both get an opportunity to play and show what they can do,” said Cornell head coach Melody Davidson. “I’ll make a decision [about starting goalie] from there.”

A new addition to the Red’s goaltenders is freshman Flora Vineberg. Vineberg hails from Toronto, ON, and played for the Beatrice Aeros there before coming to Cornell. Similar in size to Connelly, Vineberg will rely on her quick hands and agile play to fight for the number two spot.

“[Vineberg] is a solid goaltender,” said Davidson, “and if the seniors can’t get the job done, Flo’s ready to step in.”

So far, the Red has struggled despite having these three strong goalies. This can be largely attributed to the fact that Cornell has only played strong teams in the past four games, and the Red’s relative youth compared to the teams it has played. As of last weekend, Connelly had a 3.36 GAA, while Sandahl was struggling with a 4.50 GAA. Connelly had a .885 save percentage, while Sandahl had a .852 save percentage. To compare, the opposition’s goaltenders have had a cumulative 0.98 GAA, with a .960 cumulative save percentage.

These numbers will not be good enough to turn the team around from last season, but things should change as this relatively young team begins to come together. Both goaltenders have had to face over 30 shots per game on average, largely a result of a very young defensive corps that includes an inexperienced freshman, two sophomores, and two forwards that have had to learn how to play defense.

“A lot is different from the past,” said Davidson. “I see a lot of learning and a lot of change in behavior.”

Much of this learning experience has been costly for the Red so far. However, with the experience that goaltenders Connelly and Sandahl have, one could not hope for much better. If Vineberg can come out of this season with some good experience under her belt from the two upperclassmen, and the Red can find itself, this season can be considered a success.

“The little things are what we’re focusing on right now,” said Davidson.

Archived article by Michael Pandolfini